Israel Musings March 31, 2015: Netanyahu points out Obama flip flopping on Iran deal at 20th Knesset opening



Netanyahu points out Obama flip flopping on Iran deal at 20th Knesset opening

March 31, 2015

After the 20th Knesset opened in Israel and the new members were sworn-in on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toasted the new Knesset and its 39 new members in Jerusalem, Israel. In his remarks he…

Israel Musings March 29, 2015: Boehner, McConnell backing up Israel PM Netanyahu on Iran nuclear deal sanctions



Boehner, McConnell backing up Israel PM Netanyahu on Iran nuclear deal sanctions

March 29, 2015

Details are emerging about the Iran nuclear weapons deal that is in its final stages of negotiations for the framework deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is speaking out against the deal, that is even “worse” than he…

Israel Musings March 29, 2015: Boehner bashes Obama’s ‘reprehensible animosity’ towards Israel, Netanyahu



Boehner bashes Obama’s ‘reprehensible animosity’ towards Israel, Netanyahu

March 29, 2015

With the Congressional recess in the full swing, delegations from the House of Representatives and the Senate are heading over to Israel to meet with newly reelected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-OH appeared…

Israel Musings March 25, 2015: Israel election results Rivlin formally tasks Netanyahu to form 34th government



Israel election results Rivlin formally tasks Netanyahu to form 34th government

March 25, 2015

In a ceremony held Wednesday evening, March 25, 2015 in Jerusalem, Israel President Reuven Rivlin officially tasked Benjamin Netanyahu to put together Israel’s 34th government. Netanyahu will then have 28 days to form the coalition, and assign portfolios…

Israel Musings March 24, 2015: Israel denies US claims of spying on Iran nuclear talks



Israel denies US claims of spying on Iran nuclear talks

March 24, 2015

Senior US official are accusing Israel of spying on the US and P5+1 Iran nuclear weapons talks according to a report from the Wall Street Journal on Monday, March 23, 2015. The allegation accuses Israel of gathering the information…

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 23, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Sends Condolence Letter to the Sassoon Family



PM Netanyahu Sends Condolence Letter to the Sassoon Family

Source: PMO, 3-23-15

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a condolence letter to the Sassoon family which lost seven children last Shabbat in a fire in Brooklyn. The children were laid to rest in Jerusalem earlier this evening.

Prime Minister Netanyahu wrote to Gabriel, the father of the family:

“Dear Gabriel,

I was deeply shocked to hear about the tragic deaths of your beloved children, Eliane, David, Rivka, Yehoshua, Moshe, Sarah and Yaakov. From what I have heard about them, they were children imbued with values, who were a source of pride and joy for you. Each one of your children was a world unto him or herself, unique and special. There is no greater sorrow than the loss of children and the pain is even greater because they were so young. The entire Jewish People feels your pain.

As a family with faith, your dear ones embody the verse (Leviticus 10:3), ‘Through those that are close to Me will I be sanctified’. May you find the inner strength to cope with the tragedy that has befallen your family. May the memories of your children be a source of strength and consolation. I wish a full and quick recovery to your wife Gayle and your daughter Tziporah.

Yours in deep grief over the loss of seven pure souls,


Benjamin Netanyahu.”

ראש הממשלה נתניהו שלח מכתב תנחומים לבני משפחת ששון ששבעה מילדיה נספו בשריפה בברוקלין
יום שני ג’ ניסן תשע”ה
ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו שלח היום מכתב תנחומים לבני משפחת ששון ששבעה מילדיה נספו בשבת בשריפה בברוקלין והובאו הערב למנוחות בירושלים.

במכתב כתב ראש הממשלה נתניהו לאב המשפחה: “גבריאל היקר, שמעתי בזעזוע עמוק על מותם הטראגי של ילדיך האהובים אליען, דוד, רבקה, יהושע, משה, שרה ויעקב. ממה ששמעתי אודותם, אני למד על ילדים ערכיים שהיוו מקור גאווה ושמחה עבורכם. כל אחד מילדיך היה עולם ומלואו, יחיד ומיוחד. אין יגון גדול יותר מאובדן בנים ובנות, והייסורים גדולים עוד יותר כשמדובר בילדים רכים בשנים. עם ישראל כולו כואב את כאבכם.

כמשפחה מאמינה נתקיים ביקיריכם הפסוק ‘בקרוביי אקדש’ – במקורבים אליי אקדש. מי ייתן ותמצא את תעצומות הנפש להתמודד עם האסון שפקד את המשפחה כולה, ותשאב מזיכרון ילדיך מקור כח ונחמה. אני מאחל רפואה שלמה והחלמה מלאה לרעייתך גייל ולבתך ציפורה. עמכם ביגונכם העמוק על אובדן ילדיכם, שבע נשמות טהורות. בברכה, בנימין נתניהו”.

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 23, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Apologizes to Israeli Arabs for Election Day Remarks — Transcript



PM Benjamin Netanyahu Apologizes to Israeli Arabs for Election Day Remarks

הערב אירחנו, רעייתי שרה ואני, נציגים ממגזרי המיעוטים מכל רחבי הארץ, בבית ראש הממשלה בירושלים. המפגש היה חם ומרגש.

רעייתי פתחה בדברי ברכה: “אנחנו מודים לכם שהגעתם, בית ראש הממשלה הוא הבית של כל אזרחי ישראל”.

אני אמרתי: “אני יודע שהדברים שאמרתי לפני ימים אחדים פגעו בערביי ישראל. לא הייתה לי שום כוונה שכך יהיה. אני מצטער על כך.

“המעשים שלי כראש ממשלה, כולל ההשקעות האדירות במגזרי המיעוטים, מוכיחים את ההפך הגמור. אני חושב, באותה מידה, שאסור ששום גורם מחוץ למדינת ישראל יתערב בתהליכי הדמוקרטיה שלנו.

“אני רואה את עצמי כראש הממשלה של כל אחד ואחד מכם, של כל אזרחי ישראל, ללא שום הבדל של דת, גזע ומין. אני רואה בכל אזרחי ישראל שותפים לבנייתה של מדינת ישראל, משגשגת ובטוחה, למען כל אזרחי ישראל”.

Tonight, my wife Sarah and I’ve hosted, representatives from the minority sectors from all over the country, the Prime Minister’s home in Jerusalem. The meeting was warm and exciting.

My wife opened a greeting said: “We thank you for coming, the Prime Minister’s House is the House of all citizens of Israel.”

I said, “I know what I said a few days ago damaged Israel’s Arabs. I had no intention of it. I’m sorry for that.

“My actions as Prime Minister, including the investment in minority sectors, proves the opposite. I think, equally, not to any customer outside of the State of Israel will intervene in the processes of our democracy.

“I see myself as a Prime Minister of each and every one of you, of all citizens of Israel, without any distinction of religion, race and gender. I see all citizens of Israel share Israel’s deliverance, prosperous and safe, for the benefit of all citizens of Israel. ”

Israel Musings March 20, 2015: Obama threatening trying to manipulate Netanyahu, Israel over Palestinian state



Obama threatening trying to manipulate Netanyahu, Israel over Palestinian state

March 20, 2015

President Barack Obama and his administration are continuing their threats and attempts to manipulate Israel on Thursday, March 19, 2015 after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s sweeping victory. Only two days after Israel’s election on…

20th Knesset: Full List



20th Knesset: Full List

Source: Arutz Sheva, 3-19-15


  • 1. Binyamin Netanyahu
  • 2. Gilad Erdan
  • 3. Yuli Edelstein
  • 4. Yisrael Katz
  • 5. Miri Regev
  • 6. Silvan Shalom
  • 7. Moshe Ya’alon
  • 8. Ze’ev Elkin
  • 9. Danny Danon
  • 10. Yariv Levin
  • 11. Benny Begin
  • 12. Tzahi Hanegbi
  • 13. Yuval Steinitz
  • 14. Gila Gamliel
  • 15. Ofir Akunis
  • 16. David Bitan (new MK)
  • 17. Haim Katz
  • 18. Jackie Levy (new MK)
  • 19. Yoav Kish (new MK)
  • 20. Tzipi Hotovely
  • 21. David Amsallem (new MK)
  • 22. Miki Zohar (new MK)
  • 23. Anat Barko (new MK)
  • 24. Ayoub Kara (new MK)
  • 25. Nava Boker (new MK)
  • 26. Avi Dichter (new MK)
  • 27. Avraham Nasoga (new MK)
  • 28. Nurit Koren (new MK)
  • 29. Yaron Mazuz (new MK)
  • 30. Oren Hazan (new MK)

Zionist Union

  • 1.Yitzhak Herzog
  • 2. Tzipi Livni
  • 3. Shelly Yechimovich
  • 4. Stav Shaffir
  • 5.Itzik Shmuli
  • 6. Omer Bar Lev
  • 7. Hilik Bar
  • 8. Amir Peretz
  • 9. Merav Michaeli
  • 10. Eitan Cabel
  • 11. Manuel Trajtenberg (new MK)
  • 12. Erel Margalit
  • 13. Mickey Rosenthal
  • 14. Revital Sueid (new MK)
  • 15. Danny Atar (new MK)
  • 16. Yoel Hasson (new MK)
  • 17. Zohir Bahalul (new MK)
  • 18. Eitan Broshi (new MK)
  • 19. Michal Biran
  • 20. Nahman Shai
  • 21. Kasenya Svetlova (new MK)
  • 22. Ayelet Nahmias Verbin (new MK)
  • 23. Yossi Yona (new MK)
  • 24. Ayal Ben-Reuven (new MK)

Joint Arab List

  • 1. Ayman Odeh (new MK)
  • 2. Masud Ganaim
  • 3. Jamal Zahalka
  • 4. Ahmed Tibi
  • 5. Aida Touma-Suleiman (new MK)
  • 6. Abdul Hakim Haj-Yahia (new MK)
  • 7. Hanin Zoabi
  • 8. Dov Khenin
  • 9. Talab Abu Arar
  • 10. Youssef Jabarin (new MK)
  • 11. Basel Ghattas
  • 12. Osama Sa’adi (new MK)
  • 13. Abdallah Abu Meurash (new MK)

Yesh Atid

  • 1. Yair Lapid
  • 2. Shai Piron
  • 3. Yael German
  • 4. Meir Cohen
  • 5. Yaakov Peri
  • 6. Ofer Shelah
  • 7. Haim Yellin (new MK)
  • 8. Karin Elharar
  • 9. Yoel Razvozov
  • 10. Aliza Lavie
  • 11. Mickey Levy

Kulanu (all new MKs)

  • 1. Moshe Kahlon
  • 2. Yoav Galant
  • 3. Eli Elaluf
  • 4. Michael Oren
  • 5. Rachel Azaria
  • 6. Tali Ploskov
  • 7. Yifat Sasa-Biton
  • 8. Eli Cohen
  • 9. Roey Folkman
  • 10. Merav Ben-Ari

Jewish Home

  • 1. Naftali Bennett
  • 2. Uri Ariel
  • 3. Ayelet Shaked
  • 4. Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan
  • 5. Nissan Slomiansky
  • 6. Yinon Magal (new MK)
  • 7. Mordecai Yogev
  • 8. Bezalel Smotrich (new MK)


  • 1. Aryeh Deri
  • 2. Yitzhak Cohen
  • 3. Meshulam Nehorai
  • 4. Yaakov Margi
  • 5. David Azulay
  • 6. Yoav Ben-Tzur
  • 7. Yitzhak Vakhnin

United Torah Judaism

  • 1. Yaakov Litzman
  • 2. Moshe Gafni
  • 3. Meir Porush
  • 4. Uri Maklev
  • 5. Menahem Eliezer Mozes
  • 6. Yisrael Eichler

Yisrael Beytenu

  • 1. Avigdor Liberman
  • 2. Orly Levi-Abekasis
  • 3. Sofa Landver
  • 4. Ilan Shohat (new MK)
  • 5. Sharon Gal (new MK)
  • 6. Hamad Amar


  • Zehava Galon
  • Ilan Gilon
  • Issawi Freij
  • Michal Rozin
  • Tamar Zandberg

Israel Musings March 18, 2015: Obama’s sore loser reaction to Netanyahu’s win no congratulations only threats



Obama’s sore loser reaction to Netanyahu’s win no congratulations only threats

March 18, 2015

President Barack Obama and his administration are acting like sore losers on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu solidified a major victory in Israel’s elections on Tuesday, March 17. Netanyahu’…

Israel Political Brief March 17, 2015: TV exit polls show Netanyahu set to retain premiership



TV exit polls show Netanyahu set to retain premiership

Source: Times of Israel, 3-17-15

Likud ahead or level with Zionist Union in all three exit polls, better placed to build coalition; Netanyahu’s efforts in final days drew him level with Herzog; delight in Likud, dismay in Zionist Union; Jewish…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 17, 2015: Netanyahu warns Likud is losing the election



Netanyahu warns Likud is losing the election

“We’re in a fateful campaign. There is still a meaningful gap between Labor and Likud. The only way to shrink the gap is to go to the ballot box and vote ‘Mahal.'”

“The gap between Labor and Likud is based primarily on foreign funds that flow in vast quantities to leftist NGOs. Its purpose is to replace a Likud government headed by me with a left government supported by the Arab list.”

“Ayman Odeh, who supports [Zionist Union leader Isaac] Herzog, has already said not only that I must be replaced, but that I should be put in prison for defending the citizens of Israel and the lives of IDF soldiers [during last summer’s Gaza war]…. A left government that depends on such a list will surrender at every step, on Jerusalem, the 1967 lines, on everything, and therefore there’s an immense effort of leftist NGOs to mobilize voters from the left bloc, primarily in the Arab sector, and in areas where leftists vote.”

“I want to clarify: there is nothing illegitimate with citizens voting, Jewish or Arab, as they see fit. What is not legitimate is the funding, the fact that money comes from abroad from NGOs and foreign governments, brings them en masse to the ballot box in an organized fashion, in favor of the left, gives undue power to the extremist Arab list, and weakens the right bloc in such a way that we will be unable to build a government — despite the fact that most citizens of Israel support the national camp and support me as the prime minister from Likud.”


כל היום הפוליטיקאים מדברים בתקשורת. ציפי, בוז’י ויאיר לפיד, דיברו בכל אולפן אפשרי ועשו תעמולת בחירות בוטה.

היחיד שהחליטו לאסור עליו לדבר בתקשורת – זה אני. ראש הממשלה מהליכוד.

אף אחד לא יסתום לנו את הפה.

במדינה דמוקרטית גם לראש הממשלה מהליכוד יש זכות לומר את דברו. הנה הדברים שהם רצו שלא תשמעו. אני אומר לכם אותם כאן בפייסבוק:
אנחנו נמצאים במערכה גורלית. יש עדיין פער משמעותי בין “העבודה” לבין “הליכוד”.

הדרך היחידה לצמצם את הפער היא לבוא אל הקלפי ולהצביע מחל. הפער בין “העבודה” לבין “הליכוד” נובע בראש ובראשונה מכסף זר שמוזרם בהיקפים עצומים לעמותות השמאל.

מטרתן היא להחליף את ממשלת הליכוד בראשותי בממשלת שמאל, בתמיכת הרשימה הערבית.

איימן עודה, יו”ר הרשימה הערבית המשותפת, שתומך בהרצוג, כבר אמר שצריך לא רק להחליף אותי אלא גם להכניס אותי לכלא, על כך שהגנתי על חיי אזרחי ישראל ועל חיילי צה”ל.

הם אומרים שהחמאס אינו ארגון טרור. זו היא הרשימה שתומכת בבוז’י, זו הרשימה שיש לו איתה הסכם.

ממשלת שמאל שתהיה תלויה ברשימה כזו תכנע לכל אורך הדרך.

ולכן יש מאמץ כביר של עמותות השמאל להביא בוחרים לגוש השמאל, בעיקר במגזר הערבי ובאזורי בחירה של השמאל.

אני מבקש להבהיר: אין שום פסול בהצבעת האזרחים, יהודים וערבים כאחד, לפי ראות עיניהם.

הפסול הוא בכך שכסף רב מחו”ל של עמותות וממשלות זרות, מביא אותם בהמוניהם לקלפי בצורה מאורגנת.

כסף זר זה מעוות את הרצון האמיתי של אזרחי ישראל לטובת השמאל, ומעניק כוח מופרז לרשימה הערבית הקיצונית.

זה יכול להקטין את גוש הימין באופן כזה שלא נוכל להרכיב ממשלה, אף על פי שרוב אזרחי ישראל תומכים במחנה הלאומי ובי כראש הממשלה מטעם “הליכוד”.

לנו אין את עמותות השמאל, לנו אין את V-15. לנו יש אתכם, מצביעי המחנה הלאומי. צאו בהמוניכם אל הקלפיות.

יש עוד זמן. בואו להצביע מחל כדי לצמצם את הפער בין הליכוד ל”עבודה”.

אם הרכבת הממשלה תוטל עליי, ארכיב ממשלה של המחנה הלאומי. לא תקום ממשלת אחדות עם “העבודה”. אין דרך לגשר על הפערים בינינו.

לכן אני פונה למצביעי המחנה הלאומי: אם אתם רוצים שאני ארכיב את הממשלה ולא השמאל – אתם חייבים להצביע רק לליכוד. רק מחל. אין שום מפלגה אחרת.

Israel Political Brief March 17, 2015: Israeli Elections Live Blogs



Turnout hits 65.7%, highest level since 1999

Source: Times of Israel, 3-17-15

Foreign money is toppling Likud, warns Netanyahu; despite PM’s warnings of high Arab turnout, it lags 12 points behind Jewish, according to Channel 2; Jewish Home seen shrinking in final hours

Read more: Turnout hits 65.7%, highest level since 1999 | The Times of Israel
Follow us: @timesofisrael on Twitter | timesofisrael on Facebook

Live-blogging Israeli Election Day 2015

Source: JTA, 3-17-15




Israel Musings March 16, 2015: Israel election 2015 guide: Netanyahu’s Likud vs Herzog’s Zionist Union



Israel election 2015 guide: Netanyahu’s Likud vs Herzog’s Zionist Union

March 16, 2015

Israel is set to go to the polls again for the 20th time on Tuesday March 17, 2015, where they will elect the 20th Knesset and by extension determine the next prime minister, Israel’s 34th. In this election…

Israel Political Brief March 10, 2015: FAQ: Elections in Israel



FAQ: Elections in Israel

Source: MFA

A bill to dissolve the 19th Knesset passed in the Knesset plenum on Monday, December 8, 2014 by unanimous vote. Elections to the 20th Knesset will be held on March 17, 2015.
Elections in Israel 2015

  Elections in Israel 2015

1.  What do Israelis vote for in elections?

The upcoming national elections in Israel will be held on March 17, 2015. These elections will determine the composition of the new Knesset and of the government to be established based on these results. 26 parties have submitted lists of candidates to the Central Elections Committee.

Israel is a parliamentary democracy. The Prime Minister, who heads Israel’s government, is chosen from among the members of the newly-elected Knesset, Israel’s parliament….READ MORE


Full Text Israel Political Brief March 3, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Joint Address to Congress on Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal Threat — Transcript



Full text: Netanyahu’s address to Congress

Source: WaPo, 3-3-15

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is addressing a joint meeting of Congress; here is a complete transcript of his remarks.

NETANYAHU: Thank you.


Thank you…


… Speaker of the House John Boehner, President Pro Tem Senator Orrin Hatch, Senator Minority — Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

I also want to acknowledge Senator, Democratic Leader Harry Reid. Harry, it’s good to see you back on your feet.


I guess it’s true what they say, you can’t keep a good man down.


My friends, I’m deeply humbled by the opportunity to speak for a third time before the most important legislative body in the world, the U.S. Congress.


I want to thank you all for being here today. I know that my speech has been the subject of much controversy. I deeply regret that some perceive my being here as political. That was never my intention.

I want to thank you, Democrats and Republicans, for your common support for Israel, year after year, decade after decade.


I know that no matter on which side of the aisle you sit, you stand with Israel.


The remarkable alliance between Israel and the United States has always been above politics. It must always remain above politics.


Because America and Israel, we share a common destiny, the destiny of promised lands that cherish freedom and offer hope. Israel is grateful for the support of American — of America’s people and of America’s presidents, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.


We appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel.

Now, some of that is widely known.


Some of that is widely known, like strengthening security cooperation and intelligence sharing, opposing anti-Israel resolutions at the U.N.

Some of what the president has done for Israel is less well- known.

I called him in 2010 when we had the Carmel forest fire, and he immediately agreed to respond to my request for urgent aid.

In 2011, we had our embassy in Cairo under siege, and again, he provided vital assistance at the crucial moment.

Or his support for more missile interceptors during our operation last summer when we took on Hamas terrorists.


In each of those moments, I called the president, and he was there.

And some of what the president has done for Israel might never be known, because it touches on some of the most sensitive and strategic issues that arise between an American president and an Israeli prime minister.

But I know it, and I will always be grateful to President Obama for that support.


And Israel is grateful to you, the American Congress, for your support, for supporting us in so many ways, especially in generous military assistance and missile defense, including Iron Dome.


Last summer, millions of Israelis were protected from thousands of Hamas rockets because this capital dome helped build our Iron Dome.


Thank you, America. Thank you for everything you’ve done for Israel.

My friends, I’ve come here today because, as prime minister of Israel, I feel a profound obligation to speak to you about an issue that could well threaten the survival of my country and the future of my people: Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons.

We’re an ancient people. In our nearly 4,000 years of history, many have tried repeatedly to destroy the Jewish people. Tomorrow night, on the Jewish holiday of Purim, we’ll read the Book of Esther. We’ll read of a powerful Persian viceroy named Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish people some 2,500 years ago. But a courageous Jewish woman, Queen Esther, exposed the plot and gave for the Jewish people the right to defend themselves against their enemies.

The plot was foiled. Our people were saved.


Today the Jewish people face another attempt by yet another Persian potentate to destroy us. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spews the oldest hatred, the oldest hatred of anti-Semitism with the newest technology. He tweets that Israel must be annihilated — he tweets. You know, in Iran, there isn’t exactly free Internet. But he tweets in English that Israel must be destroyed.

For those who believe that Iran threatens the Jewish state, but not the Jewish people, listen to Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, Iran’s chief terrorist proxy. He said: If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of chasing them down around the world.

But Iran’s regime is not merely a Jewish problem, any more than the Nazi regime was merely a Jewish problem. The 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis were but a fraction of the 60 million people killed in World War II. So, too, Iran’s regime poses a grave threat, not only to Israel, but also the peace of the entire world. To understand just how dangerous Iran would be with nuclear weapons, we must fully understand the nature of the regime.

The people of Iran are very talented people. They’re heirs to one of the world’s great civilizations. But in 1979, they were hijacked by religious zealots — religious zealots who imposed on them immediately a dark and brutal dictatorship.

That year, the zealots drafted a constitution, a new one for Iran. It directed the revolutionary guards not only to protect Iran’s borders, but also to fulfill the ideological mission of jihad. The regime’s founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, exhorted his followers to “export the revolution throughout the world.”

I’m standing here in Washington, D.C. and the difference is so stark. America’s founding document promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Iran’s founding document pledges death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad. And as states are collapsing across the Middle East, Iran is charging into the void to do just that.

Iran’s goons in Gaza, its lackeys in Lebanon, its revolutionary guards on the Golan Heights are clutching Israel with three tentacles of terror. Backed by Iran, Assad is slaughtering Syrians. Back by Iran, Shiite militias are rampaging through Iraq. Back by Iran, Houthis are seizing control of Yemen, threatening the strategic straits at the mouth of the Red Sea. Along with the Straits of Hormuz, that would give Iran a second choke-point on the world’s oil supply.

Just last week, near Hormuz, Iran carried out a military exercise blowing up a mock U.S. aircraft carrier. That’s just last week, while they’re having nuclear talks with the United States. But unfortunately, for the last 36 years, Iran’s attacks against the United States have been anything but mock. And the targets have been all too real.

Iran took dozens of Americans hostage in Tehran, murdered hundreds of American soldiers, Marines, in Beirut, and was responsible for killing and maiming thousands of American service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Beyond the Middle East, Iran attacks America and its allies through its global terror network. It blew up the Jewish community center and the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires. It helped Al Qaida bomb U.S. embassies in Africa. It even attempted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, right here in Washington, D.C.

In the Middle East, Iran now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. And if Iran’s aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow.

So, at a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of nations, Iran is busy gobbling up the nations.


We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation and terror.


Now, two years ago, we were told to give President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif a chance to bring change and moderation to Iran. Some change! Some moderation!

Rouhani’s government hangs gays, persecutes Christians, jails journalists and executes even more prisoners than before.

Last year, the same Zarif who charms Western diplomats laid a wreath at the grave of Imad Mughniyeh. Imad Mughniyeh is the terrorist mastermind who spilled more American blood than any other terrorist besides Osama bin Laden. I’d like to see someone ask him a question about that.

Iran’s regime is as radical as ever, its cries of “Death to America,” that same America that it calls the “Great Satan,” as loud as ever.

Now, this shouldn’t be surprising, because the ideology of Iran’s revolutionary regime is deeply rooted in militant Islam, and that’s why this regime will always be an enemy of America.

Don’t be fooled. The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn’t turn Iran into a friend of America.

Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire.

In this deadly game of thrones, there’s no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don’t share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone.

So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.


The difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube, whereas Iran could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs. We must always remember — I’ll say it one more time — the greatest dangers facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons. To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle, but lose the war. We can’t let that happen.


But that, my friends, is exactly what could happen, if the deal now being negotiated is accepted by Iran. That deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them.

Let me explain why. While the final deal has not yet been signed, certain elements of any potential deal are now a matter of public record. You don’t need intelligence agencies and secret information to know this. You can Google it.

Absent a dramatic change, we know for sure that any deal with Iran will include two major concessions to Iran.

The first major concession would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure, providing it with a short break-out time to the bomb. Break-out time is the time it takes to amass enough weapons-grade uranium or plutonium for a nuclear bomb.

According to the deal, not a single nuclear facility would be demolished. Thousands of centrifuges used to enrich uranium would be left spinning. Thousands more would be temporarily disconnected, but not destroyed.

Because Iran’s nuclear program would be left largely intact, Iran’s break-out time would be very short — about a year by U.S. assessment, even shorter by Israel’s.

And if — if Iran’s work on advanced centrifuges, faster and faster centrifuges, is not stopped, that break-out time could still be shorter, a lot shorter.

True, certain restrictions would be imposed on Iran’s nuclear program and Iran’s adherence to those restrictions would be supervised by international inspectors. But here’s the problem. You see, inspectors document violations; they don’t stop them.

Inspectors knew when North Korea broke to the bomb, but that didn’t stop anything. North Korea turned off the cameras, kicked out the inspectors. Within a few years, it got the bomb.

Now, we’re warned that within five years North Korea could have an arsenal of 100 nuclear bombs.

Like North Korea, Iran, too, has defied international inspectors. It’s done that on at least three separate occasions — 2005, 2006, 2010. Like North Korea, Iran broke the locks, shut off the cameras.

Now, I know this is not gonna come a shock — as a shock to any of you, but Iran not only defies inspectors, it also plays a pretty good game of hide-and-cheat with them.

The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, said again yesterday that Iran still refuses to come clean about its military nuclear program. Iran was also caught — caught twice, not once, twice — operating secret nuclear facilities in Natanz and Qom, facilities that inspectors didn’t even know existed.

Right now, Iran could be hiding nuclear facilities that we don’t know about, the U.S. and Israel. As the former head of inspections for the IAEA said in 2013, he said, “If there’s no undeclared installation today in Iran, it will be the first time in 20 years that it doesn’t have one.” Iran has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted. And that’s why the first major concession is a source of great concern. It leaves Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and relies on inspectors to prevent a breakout. That concession creates a real danger that Iran could get to the bomb by violating the deal.

But the second major concession creates an even greater danger that Iran could get to the bomb by keeping the deal. Because virtually all the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will automatically expire in about a decade.

Now, a decade may seem like a long time in political life, but it’s the blink of an eye in the life of a nation. It’s a blink of an eye in the life of our children. We all have a responsibility to consider what will happen when Iran’s nuclear capabilities are virtually unrestricted and all the sanctions will have been lifted. Iran would then be free to build a huge nuclear capacity that could product many, many nuclear bombs.

Iran’s Supreme Leader says that openly. He says, Iran plans to have 190,000 centrifuges, not 6,000 or even the 19,000 that Iran has today, but 10 times that amount — 190,000 centrifuges enriching uranium. With this massive capacity, Iran could make the fuel for an entire nuclear arsenal and this in a matter of weeks, once it makes that decision.

My long-time friend, John Kerry, Secretary of State, confirmed last week that Iran could legitimately possess that massive centrifuge capacity when the deal expires.

Now I want you to think about that. The foremost sponsor of global terrorism could be weeks away from having enough enriched uranium for an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons and this with full international legitimacy.

And by the way, if Iran’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program is not part of the deal, and so far, Iran refuses to even put it on the negotiating table. Well, Iran could have the means to deliver that nuclear arsenal to the far-reach corners of the earth, including to every part of the United States.

So you see, my friends, this deal has two major concessions: one, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program and two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade. That’s why this deal is so bad. It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paves Iran’s path to the bomb.

So why would anyone make this deal? Because they hope that Iran will change for the better in the coming years, or they believe that the alternative to this deal is worse?

Well, I disagree. I don’t believe that Iran’s radical regime will change for the better after this deal. This regime has been in power for 36 years, and its voracious appetite for aggression grows with each passing year. This deal would wet appetite — would only wet Iran’s appetite for more.

Would Iran be less aggressive when sanctions are removed and its economy is stronger? If Iran is gobbling up four countries right now while it’s under sanctions, how many more countries will Iran devour when sanctions are lifted? Would Iran fund less terrorism when it has mountains of cash with which to fund more terrorism?

Why should Iran’s radical regime change for the better when it can enjoy the best of both world’s: aggression abroad, prosperity at home?

This is a question that everyone asks in our region. Israel’s neighbors — Iran’s neighbors know that Iran will become even more aggressive and sponsor even more terrorism when its economy is unshackled and it’s been given a clear path to the bomb.

And many of these neighbors say they’ll respond by racing to get nuclear weapons of their own. So this deal won’t change Iran for the better; it will only change the Middle East for the worse. A deal that’s supposed to prevent nuclear proliferation would instead spark a nuclear arms race in the most dangerous part of the planet.

This deal won’t be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms control. And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox.

If anyone thinks — if anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road, think again. When we get down that road, we’ll face a much more dangerous Iran, a Middle East littered with nuclear bombs and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve come here today to tell you we don’t have to bet the security of the world on the hope that Iran will change for the better. We don’t have to gamble with our future and with our children’s future.

We can insist that restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program not be lifted for as long as Iran continues its aggression in the region and in the world.


Before lifting those restrictions, the world should demand that Iran do three things. First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East. Second…


Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world.


And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.


Thank you.

If the world powers are not prepared to insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal is signed, at the very least they should insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal expires.


If Iran changes its behavior, the restrictions would be lifted. If Iran doesn’t change its behavior, the restrictions should not be lifted.


If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country.


My friends, what about the argument that there’s no alternative to this deal, that Iran’s nuclear know-how cannot be erased, that its nuclear program is so advanced that the best we can do is delay the inevitable, which is essentially what the proposed deal seeks to do?

Well, nuclear know-how without nuclear infrastructure doesn’t get you very much. A racecar driver without a car can’t drive. A pilot without a plan can’t fly. Without thousands of centrifuges, tons of enriched uranium or heavy water facilities, Iran can’t make nuclear weapons.


Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well-beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil.


Now, if Iran threatens to walk away from the table — and this often happens in a Persian bazaar — call their bluff. They’ll be back, because they need the deal a lot more than you do.


And by maintaining the pressure on Iran and on those who do business with Iran, you have the power to make them need it even more.

My friends, for over a year, we’ve been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it.


Now we’re being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That’s just not true.

The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal.


A better deal that doesn’t leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and such a short break-out time. A better deal that keeps the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in place until Iran’s aggression ends.


A better deal that won’t give Iran an easy path to the bomb. A better deal that Israel and its neighbors may not like, but with which we could live, literally. And no country…


… no country has a greater stake — no country has a greater stake than Israel in a good deal that peacefully removes this threat.

Ladies and gentlemen, history has placed us at a fateful crossroads. We must now choose between two paths. One path leads to a bad deal that will at best curtail Iran’s nuclear ambitions for a while, but it will inexorably lead to a nuclear-armed Iran whose unbridled aggression will inevitably lead to war.

The second path, however difficult, could lead to a much better deal, that would prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, a nuclearized Middle East and the horrific consequences of both to all of humanity.

You don’t have to read Robert Frost to know. You have to live life to know that the difficult path is usually the one less traveled, but it will make all the difference for the future of my country, the security of the Middle East and the peace of the world, the peace, we all desire.


My friend, standing up to Iran is not easy. Standing up to dark and murderous regimes never is. With us today is Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel.


Elie, your life and work inspires to give meaning to the words, “never again.”


And I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past.


Not to sacrifice the future for the present; not to ignore aggression in the hopes of gaining an illusory peace.

But I can guarantee you this, the days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over.


We are no longer scattered among the nations, powerless to defend ourselves. We restored our sovereignty in our ancient home. And the soldiers who defend our home have boundless courage. For the first time in 100 generations, we, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves.


This is why — this is why, as a prime minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.


But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel.


I know that you stand with Israel.


You stand with Israel, because you know that the story of Israel is not only the story of the Jewish people but of the human spirit that refuses again and again to succumb to history’s horrors.


Facing me right up there in the gallery, overlooking all of us in this (inaudible) chamber is the image of Moses. Moses led our people from slavery to the gates of the Promised Land.

And before the people of Israel entered the land of Israel, Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years. I leave you with his message today, (SPEAKING IN HEBREW), “Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them.”

My friends, may Israel and America always stand together, strong and resolute. May we neither fear nor dread the challenges ahead. May we face the future with confidence, strength and hope.

May God bless the state of Israel and may God bless the United States of America.


Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you all.

You’re wonderful.

Thank you, America. Thank you.

Thank you.

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 2, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at American Israel Public Affairs Committee AIPAC Policy Conference 2015 — Transcript



PM Netanyahu’s Speech At The AIPAC Policy Conference

Source: PMO, 3-2-15

Thank you. Wow, 16,000 people. Anyone here from California? Florida? New York?

Well, these are the easy ones. How about Colorado? Indiana? I think I got it. Montana? Texas?

You’re here in record numbers. You’re here from coast to coast, from every part of this great land. And you’re here at a critical time. You’re here to tell the world that reports of the demise of the Israeli-U.S. relations are not only premature, they’re just wrong.
You’re here to tell the world that our alliance is stronger than ever.

And because of you, and millions like you, across this great country, it’s going to get even stronger in the coming years.

Thank you Bob Cohen, Michael Kassen, Howard Kohr and all the leadership of AIPAC. Thank you for your tireless, dedicated work to strengthen the partnership between Israel and the United States.

I want to thank, most especially, Members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans. I deeply appreciate your steadfast support for Israel, year in, year out. You have our boundless gratitude.

I want to welcome President Zeman of the Czech Republic. Mr. President, Israel never forgets its friends. And the Czech people have always been steadfast friends of Israel, the Jewish people, from the days of Thomas Masaryk at the inception of Zionism.

You know, Mr. President, when I entered the Israeli army in 1967, I received a Czech rifle. That was one of the rifles that was given to us by your people in our time of need in 1948. So thank you for being here today.

Also here are two great friends of Israel, former Prime Minister of Spain Jose Maria Aznar and as of last month, former Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird. Thank you both for your unwavering support. You are true champions of Israel, and you are, too, champions of the truth.

I also want to recognize the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, for your genuine friendship, Dan, and for the great job you’re doing representing the United States and the State of Israel.

And I want to recognize the two Rons. I want to thank Ambassador Ron Prosor for the exemplary job he’s doing at the U.N. in a very difficult forum.

And I want to recognize the other Ron, a man who knows how to take the heat, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer. Ron, I couldn’t be prouder to have you representing Israel in Washington.

And finally, I want to recognize my wife, Sara, whose courage in the face of adversity is an inspiration to me. Sara divides her time as a child psychologist, as a loving mother, and her public duties as the wife of the prime minister. Sara, I’m so proud to have you here with me today, to have you with me at my side always.

My friends, I bring greetings to you from Jerusalem, our eternal undivided capital.

And I also bring to you news that you may not have heard. You see, I’ll be speaking in Congress tomorrow.

You know, never has so much been written about a speech that hasn’t been given. And I’m not going to speak today about the content of that speech, but I do want to say a few words about the purpose of that speech.

First, let me clarify what is not the purpose of that speech. My speech is not intended to show any disrespect to President Obama or the esteemed office that he holds. I have great respect for both.

I deeply appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel, security cooperation, intelligence sharing, support at the U.N., and much more, some things that I, as prime minister of Israel, cannot even divulge to you because it remains in the realm of the confidences that are kept between an American president and an Israeli prime minister. I am deeply grateful for this support, and so should you be.

My speech is also not intended to inject Israel into the American partisan debate. An important reason why our alliance has grown stronger decade after decade is that it has been championed by both parties and so it must remain.

Both Democratic and Republican presidents have worked together with friends from both sides of the aisle in Congress to strengthen Israel and our alliance between our two countries, and working together, they have provided Israel with generous military assistance and missile defense spending. We’ve seen how important that is just last summer.

Working together, they’ve made Israel the first free trade partner of America 30 years ago and its first official strategic partner last year.

They’ve backed Israel in defending itself at war and in our efforts to achieve a durable peace with our neighbors. Working together has made Israel stronger; working together has made our alliance stronger.

And that’s why the last thing that anyone who cares about Israel, the last thing that I would want is for Israel to become a partisan issue. And I regret that some people have misperceived my visit here this week as doing that. Israel has always been a bipartisan issue.

Israel should always remain a bipartisan issue.

Ladies and gentlemen, the purpose of my address to Congress tomorrow is to speak up about a potential deal with Iran that could threaten the survival of Israel. Iran is the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Look at that graph. Look at that map. And you see on the wall, it shows Iran training, arming, dispatching terrorists on five continents. Iran envelopes the entire world with its tentacles of terror. This is what Iran is doing now without nuclear weapons. Imagine what Iran would do with nuclear weapons.

And this same Iran vows to annihilate Israel. If it develops nuclear weapons, it would have the means to achieve that goal. We must not let that happen.

And as prime minister of Israel, I have a moral obligation to speak up in the face of these dangers while there’s still time to avert them. For 2000 years, my people, the Jewish people, were stateless, defenseless, voiceless. We were utterly powerless against our enemies who swore to destroy us. We suffered relentless persecution and horrific attacks. We could never speak on our own behalf, and we could not defend ourselves.

Well, no more, no more.

The days when the Jewish people are passive in the face of threats to annihilate us, those days are over. Today in our sovereign state of Israel, we defend ourselves. And being able to defend ourselves, we ally with others, most importantly, the United States of America, to defend our common civilization against common threats.

In our part of the world and increasingly, in every part of the world, no one makes alliances with the weak. You seek out those who have strength, those who have resolve, those who have the determination to fight for themselves. That’s how alliances are formed.

So we defend ourselves and in so doing, create the basis of a broader alliance.

And today, we are no longer silent; today, we have a voice. And tomorrow, as prime minister of the one and only Jewish state, I plan to use that voice.

I plan to speak about an Iranian regime that is threatening to destroy Israel, that’s devouring country after country in the Middle East, that’s exporting terror throughout the world and that is developing, as we speak, the capacity to make nuclear weapons, lots of them.

Ladies and gentlemen, Israel and the United States agree that Iran should not have nuclear weapons, but we disagree on the best way to prevent Iran from developing those weapons.

Now disagreements among allies are only natural from time to time, even among the closest of allies. Because they’re important differences between America and Israel.

The United States of America is a large country, one of the largest. Israel is a small country, one of the smallest.

America lives in one of the world’s safest neighborhoods. Israel lives in the world’s most dangerous neighborhood. America is the strongest power in the world. Israel is strong, but it’s much more vulnerable. American leaders worry about the security of their country. Israeli leaders worry about the survival of their country.

You know I think that encapsulates the difference. I’ve been prime minister of Israel for nine years. There’s not a single day, not one day that I didn’t think about the survival of my country and the actions that I take to ensure that survival, not one day.

And because of these differences, America and Israel have had some serious disagreements over the course of our nearly 70-year-old friendship.

Now, it started with the beginning. In 1948, Secretary of State Marshall opposed David Ben-Gurion’s intention to declare statehood. That’s an understatement. He vehemently opposed it. But Ben-Gurion, understanding what was at stake, went ahead and declared Israel’s independence.

In 1967, as an Arab noose was tightening around Israel’s neck, the United States warned Prime Minister Levi Eshkol that if Israel acted alone, it would be alone. But Israel did act — acted alone to defend itself.

In 1981, under the leadership of Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Israel destroyed the nuclear reactor at Osirak. The United States criticized Israel and suspended arms transfers for three months. And in 2002, after the worst wave of Palestinian terror attacks in Israel’s history, Prime Minister Sharon launched Operation Defensive Shield. The United States demanded that Israel withdraw its troops immediately, but Sharon continued until the operation was completed.

There’s a reason I mention all these. I mention them to make a point. Despite occasional disagreements, the friendship between America and Israel grew stronger and stronger, decade after decade.

And our friendship will weather the current disagreement, as well, to grow even stronger in the future. And I’ll tell you why; because we share the same dreams. Because we pray and hope and aspire for that same better world; because the values that unite us are much stronger than the differences that divide us values like liberty, equality, justice, tolerance, compassion.

As our region descends into medieval barbarism, Israel is the one that upholds these values common to us and to you.

As Assad drops bell bombs on his own people, Israeli doctors treat his victims in our hospitals right across the fence in the Golan Heights.

As Christians in the Middle East are beheaded and their ancient communities are decimated, Israel’s Christian community is growing and thriving, the only one such community in the Middle East.

As women in the region are repressed, enslaved, and raped, women in Israel serve as chief justices, CEOs, fighter pilots, two women chief justices in a row. Well, not in a row, but in succession. That’s pretty good.

In a dark, and savage, and desperate Middle East, Israel is a beacon of humanity, of light, and of hope.

Ladies and gentlemen, Israel and the United States will continue to stand together because America and Israel are more than friends. We’re like a family. We’re practically mishpocha.

Now, disagreements in the family are always uncomfortable, but we must always remember that we are family.

Rooted in a common heritage, upholding common values, sharing a common destiny. And that’s the message I came to tell you today. Our alliance is sound. Our friendship is strong. And with your efforts it will get even stronger in the years to come.

Thank you, AIPAC. Thank you, America. God bless you all.

Israel Musings March 1, 2015: Netanyahu’s address to Congress on Iran political football in the partisan war



Netanyahu’s address to Congress on Iran political football in the partisan war

By Bonnie K. Goodman

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu embarked on his trip to the United States on Sunday, March 1, 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-OH argued about Netanyahu’s upcoming Joint…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 1, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks Before Leaving for Washington



PM Netanyahu’s Remarks Before Leaving for Washington

Source: PMO, 3-1-15

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks before departing for the US:

“A few days before the Fast of Esther, I am leaving for Washington on a fateful, even historic, mission. I feel that I am the emissary of all Israelis, even those who disagree with me, of the entire Jewish People. I am deeply and genuinely concerned for the security of all Israelis, for the fate of the nation, and for the fate of our people and I will do my utmost to ensure our future.”

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